Full Disclosure: I’m given plenty of sample bottles throughout the year. In fact, it’s a rare week that goes by that I don’t get a box of wine dropped off, a tote bag of bottles, or something odd coming my way. Most are dropped off with the understanding that if they are good, I’ll use them, if they aren’t that appropriate for something that I’m working on or if they aren’t exciting to drink, then I don’t use them. I work very hard to only recommend wines I would actually drink myself. Generally, the things that are most of interest are wines that people can get. They might be rare or difficult to find, but I generally try not to write about exclusives or products that are only available in a certain store or a certain chain.

That said, guess what? I came home around lunchtime and found a courier hiding a flat wine box under a tree on my front lawn. We chatted, I signed the form, and took my poorly hid wine into the house. Contained within was a set of the new wines from President’s Choice. Yes, Superstore now has a house wine brand.

House brands have come a long way. They aren’t just plonk that was cheap and labeled with the brand name, wines destined for house brands can come from marquee regions or grapes, from reputable producers, and quite frankly, those bottles can contain the good stuff. Final details aren’t quite available yet, but it seems as though the wines were selected for the program, and hopefully quality was the driving force rather than price. I’ve got high hopes since there is a Priorat in here.

So let us run through the wines that were in the box. All are PC branded. Pricing came from the PR company and they seem to be $20 a bottle or $15 when purchased in multiples of 3 or more. These wines will only be available for a limited time and then a new selection will be curated by their decision makers and arrive in our market. Available at Superstore liquor stores only I suppose…

Banti 2013 Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy

Pretty solid effort here with good fruits, a little spice and underbrush herb aromas. Medium weight tannins and a brightness to the fruits make for an all-around Tuscan sipper. Pair with your favourite Italian-themed dish.

Plata 2013 Chardonnay, California

Well-rounded tropical fruit presence with vanilla and coconut (suntan lotion) on the nose. In the mouth, a decent compromise between fruit and oak flavours, perfect for poultry or seafood such as scallops or white fish. Not bad at all.

Plata 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Quite the spicy little monster in the glass. Cloves, ginger, and peppercorn lead the way over cherry fruits and a bit of bell pepper aromas. In the mouth, a clean, well-structured cabsuitable for pizza, burgers, or lasagna.

Poggiofoco 2009 Sovana DOC, Italy

Showing a bit of russet colouring around the rim, this cabernet sauvignon (with a little sangiovese), may be a bit oxidized, but still showing cedar, cherry fruits and spice. Palate-wise, a little tired or in a temporary funk, but some may enjoy it with big tomato-based sauces or rich meat dishes. I’ll pass though…

Rotllan Torra 2010 Priorat Reserva, Spain

This one was a little heart-quickening to see in the box. A Priorat? Awesome! Smoky aromas with black fruits and a liquorice root, spicy character that is really working for me. Flavours are pretty consistent with firm tannins and a long finish. Good stuff, and would be really nice with pork shoulder, a beefy, irish stew or a good cheddar.

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